It’s was only a short time ago that the Mandalorians took to the screen in The Clone Wars, and the tradition will continue into Star Wars: Rebels. This time it’s Sabine, the young weapons specialist and graffiti artist. Her helmet with its t-shaped visor is a hallmark of the Star Wars universe – effortlessly cool, it gave Boba Fett a menacing, collected air that fascinated fans even though he was only on screen for a brief time.
Mandalorian armor, called beskar’gam in the Mandalorian language, is both a defense and a weapon. It’s also a cultural artifact. Mandalorians wear it as a sign of loyalty to their heritage, regardless of their gender or species.
Here are nine other characters, from Star Wars media of all kinds, who wore the Mandalorian look with pride:
This article does not include armored characters with suits slightly different from the Mandalorians’, such as the clone troopers. It does include characters who wore the armor without ever having the cultural affiliation, like Obi-Wan Kenobi. This time, we’re just judging based on appearances.
The hero of the hour is Sabine Wren, the young graffiti artist who sports pink and checkerboard armor in Star Wars: Rebels. She’s young, around the same age as series hero Ezra Bridger, and wields two blaster pistols.
She’s certainly not using her armor to be stealthy. Like other Rebels characters, she wears a loud combination of colors, with some illustrations on the armor. The Rebel symbol graces her armor, as does the wolf – a favorite motif of executive producer Dave Filoni.
Already, Sabine seems like a complicated character because she doesn’t just check one box. She’s a weapons expert, an artist, a Rebel, and a teenager – and just how these traits come together is something we’ll have to wait and see.
Sabine clearly inflicts changes on the world around her. Not content to let things be as they are, she paints a rainbow of colors – and maybe that urge to change is part of what drives her to fight the Empire. Her armor isn’t meant to hide her. It’s interesting to see an open, bubbly character wearing something meant to obscure and defend. There’s already thematic conflict in her look – defense and offense. The armor obscures Sabine’s face, but also makes her instantly recognizable to the Empire.
She’s the weapons expert of the show, and it’s possible, although still unknown, that she learned her skills from Mandalorian family But until the series premiere in October, we won’t know for sure.
Everybody knows Boba Fett. We know how he first flew onto the screen — in the Star Wars Holiday Special of all things — and that he’s actually a clone of his father Jango. Fett blasted into fans’ hearts with Darth Vader’s quiet declaration – “No disintegrations” – and the unique look of the bounty hunter who won the competition among his peers to bring Han Solo to the Empire. Who was this guy? How many people had he already disintegrated?
The Expanded Universe told us that Boba Fett moved in and out of Mandalorian culture, which was itself nomadic. The Mandalorians weren’t all bounty hunters, but they had a strict warrior code and fierce loyalty to one another. The armor, their unique language, their food, and a leader independent of the galactic government were ancient traditions. It’s a complex history, and like any real world system of government, has its fans and detractors. Mandalorian is also the first completely constructed language in the Star Wars universe.
In The Clone Wars, the New Mandalorians are a peaceful people with one warlike sect, struggling to rise above the aggression of their ancestors. They’ve still got cool armor, but they also have a lot of pomp and circumstance. In The Clone Wars, they are ripe for invasion by the warlike Death Watch faction.
Boba Fett didn’t have a link to this history after Jango’s death at the hands of the Jedi, which was part of what lead to his taking work as a bounty hunter. The silver armor, re-sized for the growing Fett, came in handy as Fett fought and dealed his way through a rogues gallery of familiar bounty hunters like Bossk during The Clone Wars. Like his father, his armor incorporates a jetpack and has holsters for two pistols. A cord installed in the gauntlet could ensnare Fett’s prey like it did to Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. Boba Fett’s armor in RotJ also features details like braids taken from his victims.
In the Legends universe, Jango Fett’s mentor was Jaster Mareel, a leader of the Mandalorians. In the Star Wars comics, Jango’s story entwines with that of the Death Watch and New Mandalorians, but his lasting legacy would be the clone army, and its contribution to the Empire for which his clone son would later work.
Jango’s silver armor had a plethora of hidden weapons, like a wrist laser, flamethrower, stun darts, grappling hook, blades at the wrists and boots, and more. The jet pack allowed him to propel himself for short distances, and also contained a rocket launcher. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very helpful for Jango, who was decapitated when his pack failed to launch.
Jaster Mareel was killed by a character who exists both in Legends and The Clone Wars, and also has his share of armor and infamy…
Viszla’s armor is classic Mandalorian, with the black and dark blue color scheme preferred by villains the world over. Viszla, specifically, is a scowling villain of The Clone Wars.
His armor is equipped with a flame thrower and grappling hooks. He also sports a darksaber, which is exactly what it sounds like – a black blade that can withstand a hit from a lightsaber, which Viszla uses against Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi. As the leader of the Death Watch, he leads troops into jetpack-assisted aerial battle.
He is a major catalyst for the exciting Maul arc in The Clone Wars. Viszla’s Mandalorian pride was eventually his downfall when he challenged Darth Maul to single combat.
Viszla’s lieutenant, Bo-Katan, is a more complex villain than Viszla, partially because her loyalty to Mandalorian tradition is complicated by her sister being the duchess of the New Mandalorians. Bo-Katan also uses two blasters. Her armor is in the traditional Mandalorian style with a more slanted visor, giving her an elegant, predatory look. Bo-Katan, and later her squad called the Nite Owls, make heavy use of their jet packs. Bo-Katan’s armor is also equipped with dart launchers and hidden blades. Like Boba Fett, she has a rangefinder mounted on her helmet.
Bo-Katan changes affiliation over the course of the show, and her armor reflects that. While the blue and black color scheme fits right in with the Death Watch with whom she is first seen, the silver accents seem to indicate a kinder nature. She’s loyal to the traditional Mandalorians. While she sometimes disagrees with Viszla’s plans, it isn’t usually out of compassion, but rather out of the standards imposed by her warrior code.
Obi-Wan’s armor is a disguise during his mission to Mandalore to stop the Death Watch from overthrowing its government. This isn’t the first time he wore armor in The Clone Wars, either. As alter ego Rako Hardeen, he masked himself in order to join a gang of bounty hunters in season four. The red and black coloring gives him an ominous look similar to Darth Maul’s.
Obi-Wan’s old enemy Darth Maul influences the Death Watch, as he seeks to destabilize the galactic underworld and form an army to confront his old mentor, Darth Sidious. Some of the Death Watch Mandalorians adopt Darth Maul’s horns as a motif, adding them to the top of their helmets. This doesn’t seem to have much of a practical purpose so far – although it does make them look menacing.
Canderous is the quintessential Mandalorian in the Old Republic era. He doesn’t wear armor during Knights of the Old Republic, the first Star Wars story in which he appears, but by Knights of the Old Republic II, he has become Mandalore, the leader of the tribe.
In his era, the Mandalorians had been defeated and scattered by the Jedi. After lengthy struggles (depicted by the novel Revan), he reclaimed the mask and the Mandalore’s traditional armor.
This armor is notably more primitive than Boba Fett’s. It was designed to look like a precursor to the later style, so the chest is a solid metal piece, and the helmet features large breathing tubes on either side that attach to the rest of the suit. This breathing system is not present on later models, although whether it was replaced with a more compact filtration system or something else is unknown. Mandalore’s armor is made of durable beskar metal that encompasses the whole suit, because no matter how many thousands of years go by there’s still something to be said for surrounding oneself with metal plates.
Skirata is behind the scenes of the clone army, but you’d never know unless you read the Republic Commando books. Within those pages, he’s a mentor to many clone troopers, and helped integrate Mandalorian traditions into the Grand Army of the Republic. He was actually adopted into a Mandalorian family as a child, but kept to their traditions strictly, including the armor. Skirata’s armor was gold in color and weathered from use. He was known for also using a three-sided knife, and weapons manufactured by the Verpine species.
Mareel was woven into the story of Pre Viszla and Jango Fett, but unlike them, he hasn’t made an appearance in the movies or The Clone Wars to give him a place in the new canon. In the Legends universe, Mareel remade the code of the Mandalorians and turned them into mercenaries rather than soldiers. He combined strength and toughness with a strong moral code. He also saved Jango Fett’s life.
Before the release of Attack of the Clones, Jaster Mareel was said to be the true identity of Boba Fett. After, he was revealed as a separate character — althoughsome material revealed that Boba and Jango used the name ‘Jaster Mareel’ as an alias. That’s continuity for you.
Appropriately, Mareel wore armor very similar to Boba Fett’s, including the half cape and a heavily stocked utility belt. Unlike Fett, he didn’t use a jetpack. Mareel preferred a blaster rifle with knife attachment to the two pistols he also wore.
Mandalorian armor is a sign of efficient, mostly honest warriors who’ve stormed the galaxy, and gained the loyalty of many fans.
Comment with your favorite armored characters, and whether you’re looking forward to Sabine and maybe more masked Mandalorians in the Sequel Trilogy!